How to write a Doctor Who story

Are you a pathetic fanfiction writer living in your mother's basement, hoping to write your very own Doctor Who story? Or are you some sad middle aged man hoping to travel back in time and become showruiner during a particular period of the program? Fear not, this guide will teach you how to handle the "Whoniverse".

First Doctor

  • Make the pacing as slow as an old lady crossing the street.
  • Give the Doctor dementia.
  • If it's a historical situation, have the Doctor get into a position of power and/or become good frienemies with some popular historical figure.
  • If it's a historical situation, the Doctor must get separated from his companions.
  • Have Barbara get kidnapped pretty early on in the story and learn the villains' motivations and way of thinking while imprisoned, meanwhile Ian spends half the story going on a quest to find her.
  • Every other villain who captures Barbara wants to bang her. To be fair, I would too.
  • Make Susan scream like her grandfather is diddling her.
  • Have Susan twist/dislocate/snap off/amputate her ankle as a means to get her captured.
  • Give Dodo absolutely no personality whatsoever (or if you must, make sure to junk those stories).
  • The TARDIS crew should get split up at the earliest opportunity and must not reunite until the last possible moment; the male companion and/or strong female companion should make their own way in the story, usually by helping to lead a revolution or something, while the weak and dithery little girl assistant should remain with the Doctor and get the easiest ride of the main characters.
  • Every story must have scenes inside the TARDIS lasting hours on end. No exceptions.
  • Make the Doctor and co. run into the Daleks in every other story.
  • Make the Doctor disappear for a whole episode every now and then to let the old fossil playing the character have a rest for a week.

Second Doctor

  • BUS every episode, no exceptions.
  • Cybermen every episode, no exceptions.
  • Have Jamie try to fuck every woman in sight.
  • Victoria always screams, whimpers, or says something along the lines of "Oh Doctor, it was awful!".
  • Polly should literally put the kettle on.
  • If it's Season 4, then Ben and Jamie should constantly overshadow each other, making them both look like a third wheel.
  • In the BUS episodes (so in every Second Doctor episode), have the base leader be clearly mentally unstable and refuse all help from his peers and the Doctor because "I KNOW HOW TO DO MY JOB AND YOU ALL WANT TO TAKE IT FROM ME!", and then have him subsequently go insane and/or get possessed by the monster of the week.
  • You know all of that science-fiction and history the prior Doctor had? Well forget it for this one. Just be bug-eyed monsters all the way!
  • The monster can't just be merely defeated, it has to be utterly destroyed!
  • You know how the First Doctor had decades of scenes set inside the TARDIS? Well, do a complete 180 for the Second; some stories should literally begin and end with the Doctor and companions entering/exiting the TARDIS with no glimpse of the interior.
  • Some of the monsters have to clearly be Dalek substitutes because you can't get the rights to the Daleks anymore.
  • Junk your production because the fans won't stop whinging about how William Hartnell got replaced, even after Troughton got replaced by Jon Pertwee.
  • Animate your junked production because the fans won't stop whinging about how the greatest episodes ever featuring the greatest Doctor ever were junked.

Third Doctor

  • Never leave Earth because of his exile to earth on the War Games
  • Make the villains always target 20th century England, specifically London.
  • Roger Delgado is behind everything, no exceptions.
  • Lots of HAI!!!
  • If this is early in his run, the Third Doctor should argue with whoever is in charge and say what they are doing is wrong, and he does this for a perfectly good reason...but the Third Doctor never articulates what that good reason is to them and avoid a stupid conflict that never needed to happen because force conflict and surprise solution.
  • Remember that the Third Doctor should not have any strong female companions; if he ends up getting one, he should spend no longer than one season with them (or if they start dithery but then end up becoming badass like Jo, then get rid of them ASAP).
  • Jo should flash her underwear at the camera numerous times.
  • The Brig and the Doctor should always be disagreeing on something, whether it be how to solve an alien crisis or what the Doctor does with UNIT's resources in the TARDIS.
  • Remember, every now and then, the Doctor should do something like build a fusion perfectly toast marshmallows or something like that.
  • The TARDIS interior should drastically change with every appearance.
  • Speaking of which, if possible, don't even show the TARDIS interior.
  • End most stories with a model shot of a location being destroyed, usually by being exploded but other times by melting.
  • The moral of every story should be to trust your government and anyone who says otherwise is being manipulated by the Master.

Fourth Doctor


Hinchcliffe Era

  • Plagiarize.
  • The Doctor should have very few words to say about anything unless he has to set up a casual serial-opening conversation, reveal something important, or to brow-beat a villain.
  • The companions must be useful to the plot at all times, sometimes more so than the Doctor himself.
  • The Doctor and his companions must constantly waltz into the most dangerous situations as though it were safe.
  • The production values have to be the best the show has ever seen until 1996.
  • The Doctor should take almost everything with the near-maximum gravity.
  • Write situations so horrific that you're fired.

Williams Era


  • Use the maximum science-fiction.
  • Remember, you must use melodrama whether or not it makes sense to use it.
  • The Doctor must be solemn, angsty, angry, and above all other things, depressed.
  • The Doctor and companion(s) shouldn't get involved with the plot of any story until its second part. Part 1 must be solely devoted to world building.
  • All of the side characters should over-act.
  • Piss off Tom Baker so much that he leaves.

Fifth Doctor

  • Tegan must complain about getting back to Heathrow and throw a hissy fit if the Doctor is 2 metres out.
  • Overcrowd the TARDIS with kids.
  • If it's a Season 19 story, the main cast must wear entirely one colour each.
  • Have the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa fall asleep or into trances all the time.
  • The Doctor must constantly be a nervous, breathless, energetic mess for the first half of his tenure.
  • If you thought the First Doctor's pacing was slow, well....must be slower for this one... Even more hilarious, it must be fewer episodes than Hartnell's on average, but it must still feel slower.
  • You must have people arguing and being assholes to each other for no good reason whatsoever, all without a shred of irony, because back then, forcing conflict among the main characters like a bloody Soap opera was considered good television, and tons of comedy was considered bad television.
  • You thought Adric was an alright kid during the JNT Tom Baker run, and becoming better? Well forget that development, his past is the only thing that defines him, and we need that forced conflict, so make him an annoying little thug every step of the way.
  • Turlough should be completely useless.
  • You should never use Kamelion because he's cursed.
  • Make sure at least one companion takes their clothes off during an episode.

Sixth Doctor

  • Have theSixth Doctor be an arse.
  • Have Peri do actions that will make her tits jiggle (running, jumping, etc).
  • Peri must wear nothing in all situations and scenarios.
  • Every villain has to find Peri attractive and try to rape her.
  • Mel is an obnoxious caricature, nothing more.
  • You know how the previous Doctors fought against Guardians, gods and creatures from other dimensions? Well, behold the original villains for this Doctor's era; talking slugs and plant men.
  • Bring back old villains to help soothe audience contempt for the new arsehole Doctor.
  • In fact, just generally rip off locations and plot points from the runs of the First, Second and Fourth Doctors, the ones that everybody is currently nostalgic about.
  • Hell, make the Sixth Doctor a combined flanderization of the sometimes inaccurate Target Novelization characterizations of the First, Second and Fourth Doctors in general (this is pretty much why he's such an arse; nobody remembered anything about Hartnell besides "grumpy" or anything about Tom Baker besides "arrogant" at that point).
  • All characters (main and supporting) must wear the most garish, sickly fashion known to man.
  • Be seriously edgy to the point that you cause the show to go on hiatus.

Seventh Doctor


Eighth Doctor


War Doctor

  • Make theWar Doctor act pretty much just like any other Doctor except the only difference is he doesn't like being called "Doctor".

Ninth Doctor

  • Rip off the storytelling style and the plot ideas from Innes Lloyd's run, and no other (except at times the VNAs and Big Finish audios), because according to the people who were writing for this era, Lloyd was the greatest producer of all time and Hinchcliffe was the absolute worst because The Deadly Assassin ruined their personal headcanons.
  • Make everything as fast as possible. Storylines, explanations, just normal talking, it must all be put on Crystal Meth.
  • The Doctor must be spontaneously ultra-excited over the most random things.
  • Remember, Mickey is the LoLCow.
  • Shoe-horn in "Fantastic" wherever you can, even in situations where it makes no sense.
  • Everybody must question everything and each other for no apparent reason or with no apparent provocation. Rose is questioning that vague something that she's looking for that the stories never properly explain to us, the Doctor actually questions in a way that helps move the plot along and figures out the mystery, Captain Jack questions if the cute ass he's tailing wants it or not, Jackie questions the meaning of a cuppa, and Mickey questions what the Hell is going on in this story.
  • The explanation to all things is sex. Sex drives everything. Drop sexual references every chance you've got, but do it in such a way that it feels like a kids' show, which RTD's run kind of was, thus reminding the whole world how degenerate British society has become.
  • Make everything semi-subtly steam-punk. Everything. No exceptions.

Tenth Doctor

  • Remember, everything must remind the Tenth Doctor of Rose.
  • Rose should get away with being a bitch because the Doctor wuvs her.
  • Make the Doctor treat Martha like crap as much as possible. It serves her right for her unholy crime of... being the first companion after Rose... (...or perhaps... the real reason is far more sinister.)
  • The Doctor and Master must have an extremely homoerotic relationship to appease the Tumblr fans.
  • When the Doctor is travelling alone, constantly make him reference this fact and have other characters tell him not to be alone and to "find someone".
  • Shoe-horn in "Allons-y!" where you can, even in situations where it makes no sense.
  • In spite of the fact that the original batch of writers hated almost everybody but Innes Lloyd and refused to allow the taint of any other producer, for some reason some of them decided to use two other styles as well as their prior style, so don't be afraid to also channel the story styles of Philip Hinchcliffe (an admittedly redeeming quality of the Tenth Doctor's run) and JNT (a non-redeeming quality of the Tenth Doctor's run).
  • The Doctor should irrationally think that the universe is a living thing that has "plans", and is binding him and other characters together for its own ends.
  • Remember, in this era, the Doctor should be written as an angsty edgy Edward Cullen clone.
  • Write in prophecies that make no sense, specifically nonsense phrases.
  • Constantly foreshadow that one of the main characters will die and then effectively say "syke!"
  • Ten should hate soldiers, because fighting is bad.
  • The moral of every other story is that the Labour Party is your God, and the Tenth Doctor your Christ and savior.
  • Solve all things with a sonic screwdriver, techno-babble, and cheat-trolling.
  • The Doctor should always be sorry, he should be so very sorry.

Eleventh Doctor

  • Speeches. All the time.
  • Lots of memery and 'witty dialogue'.
  • Everything is Wibbly-wobbly, no exceptions.
  • Shoe-horn in "Geronimo" where you can, even in situations where it makes no sense.
  • Every series must have a break halfway through that lasts for 20 years.
  • Add in nursery rhymes when you want to be creepy.
  • Revisit the same locations over and over again (Amy's house, Lake Silencio, Trenzalore, etc).
  • You know how this series alternated between science fiction and speculative fiction all of these years? Well forget it. Make it an almost unabashed fairy-tale, but in space with machines and stuff!
  • Have the Doctor stop giving a fuck about destroying all the Daleks and just let him casually stroll off, leaving entire governments of them to their business.
  • Your story mustn't be any longer than a single episode. Who cares about properly fleshing out your ideas and having decent pacing that doesn't feel rushed? The show should look like a movie poster, and kids are easily bored - they'll want to see something different next week!
  • Just because all stories are a single episode doesn't mean they can't have cliffhangers! However, these cliffhangers must never be situational or have any sense of danger - instead, they should involve a mysterious character doing an Eastenders-style reveal of a secret that they were holding back all this time for no real reason.
  • The Doctor should constantly make remarks of how certain aspects of a personality make people (usually his companions) "so human", and he should either praise or condemn this, depending on the situation.
  • Have the Doctor constantly proclaim he doesn't need or follow rules.
  • Have the Doctor follow the same rules as usual anyway and have every other character incessantly chastise him for doing something that his Second, Seventh, or Tenth incarnation would do on a regular basis without any regrets, and they should, never, ever, stop reminding him about this, until this Doctor succumbs to far more guilt and self-loathing than almost any other incarnation besides the War Doctor and the Ninth Doctor over something that three other incarnations did without so much as a blink.
  • Everything that the characters wear, everything that they eat, and half of the sets, must look as unappealing as possible, whereas the monsters must look as shiny and clean as possible.
  • Use the most dull and depressing lighting, even for happy and jovial places.
  • The Cybermen should just be filler villains; even in episodes that should revolve around them, the Doctor should seem more interested in other things.
  • Oh boy, the Weeping Angels sure were a smash hit monster, weren't they? Now, constantly throw 'em in in the show all the time for pointless, poorly directed cameos just to make fans jizz themselves.
  • Kovarian and the Silence should be the only truly malevolent villains during this era. Every other seemingly evil monster must turn out to be a goody two shoes, or horny in love.
  • Speaking of which, love conquers all! No exceptions!
  • Every character must wait hundreds of years for each other.
  • Amy should get away with being a bitch because that's just what she does! Specifically get her to claim that Rory's problems are nothing compared to hers, or that Rory is somehow responsible for problems caused by her because he's the boy and she's the girl.
  • Amy should get away with being an idiot because that's what all girls are like!
  • The Doctor must be able to literally just say 'I'm the Doctor' and every villain will run away.
  • Along those same lines, the Doctor and other characters should act like he has way too much of a fear mongering god-like reputation, and yet the stories themselves should still paradoxically abuse this quality to resolve any and all plots.
  • Hell, the entire universe of show should revolve around the Doctor. Every single story element of this era should relate back to how he's the central focus of reality itself.
  • Rory has to die at least once per episode.
  • Remember, Clara is a mysterious plot device and not a character. Don't try and give her any personality traits beyond the cliches "always asks questions" and "is feisty".
  • Clara should always make pretentious speeches about the Doctor running and "his big sad eyes".
  • Whenever Clara sees a fixed event of the Doctor's life that she doesn't like, she should always demand the Doctor to change it, and he should always comply.
  • Speaking of which, whenever any character dies or undergoes a permanent life-changing experience, undo it entirely.
  • Leave plot threads running for years on end, and then once you resolve them, create a dozen more.
  • The moral of half of the stories is "Doctor Who is awesome!" or some other self-congratulatory rubbish. 
  • Play "I am the Doctor" in every fucking episode.

Twelfth Doctor

  • If the episode has a message, don't handle it with subtlety at all. Blare it out as loudly as you can.
  • Constantly throw in iconic imagery from previous Doctors eras to draw attention away from plot holes..
  • Twelve should hang around schools.
  • Remember, if audience members aren't warming to Twelve, don't try to improve the personality you gave him at the start - give him a completely different one! (t. Gareth Roberts)
  • Give him an assload of varieties of his costumes.
  • Make at least one story where he's almost all alone.
  • Give his Doctor shameless sequels/prequels to Classic stories to appease Classic Who fans but alienate casual viewers.
  • Clara has to be the cause and/or pivot of every single aspect of the Doctor's psyche.
  • Twelvey should suddenly hate soldiers again to crowbar in drama.
  • Remember that the Doctor, a member of one of the most powerful races in the universe who has lived for over 2,000 years, must be represented as incompetent in this era, so much so that he needs "carers", and all of his series must include some smug brat talking down to him about responsibility.
  • Clara should have more personality than before, but she must now be depicted as a bossy control freak.
  • Clara should cry. All the time. The reason why doesn't matter, just make her burst into tears.
  • Have Bill explain her sexuality to someone every episode, and make that explanation pivotal to the plot
  • Include a monologue from Twelve no matter how out-of-place it is or if it's just incoherent rambling

Thirteenth Doctor

  • Bring back (or create) a good monster
  • if you are writing about the first adventure of the 13th write about her falling from the TARDIS.

Your Own Custom Doctor

  • Take five minutes to write a bland copy and paste personality for your Doctor.
  • Make sure you use an established monster every episode, no room for creativity.
  • Rehash certain episodes that were good to make your story seem good.
  • Make sure he only wears one costume for the entirety of his run, no exceptions!
  • Give him a companion with a tiny bit of backstory and character so they seem more important than they are when they die.
  • Contradict the established canon, that's not a suggestion, there's just no way to write a story without messing up some part of the canon.
  • If there is a Doctor in the show that you don't like and don't want to be canon in your series, don't worry! You can just replace that Doctor with your Doctor.
  • Have your Doctor regenerate from the previous Doctor in the first five minutes of your first story.


Jack Harkness face.jpg
  • Gratuitous sex scenes.
  • Characters moping about how there's nothing after they die.
  • The word "Welsh".
  • Owen presented as this suave chad even though he looks like a frog.
  • Captain Jack must get fatally injured every episode to remind the audience that he's immortal.
  • Whiplash between extreme camp and depressing plot twists.
  • Occasionally bring up how humanity is awful and they don't deserve the Doctor (which is true, but still...).
  • Speaking of the Doctor, never let him make an actual appearance on Torchwood.
  • Scenes that are ripped right from Buffy and Angel.
  • Captain Jack must always stand on top of buildings for whatever reason.
  • Any lingering plot threads from the previous season must be abandoned without any explanation. Bilis? Jack's brother? The political fallout from the British government planning to sacrifice 10% of the world's children to be used as alien heroin? Fuck 'em.
  • Most importantly, EDGE!!!

The Sarah Jane Adventures

Sarah Jane Adventures.jpg
  • "Mr. Smith, I need you!" must be said every week.
  • References to Classic Who that would fly over the kid audience's heads.
  • Hand-me-down NuWho monsters will show up because budget.
  • Luke acting like Adric except charming and pleasant. (Should also include awkward interactions with other male characters so you can call it gay sexual tension afterwards when you decide to make him fully gay.)
  • The Trickster is behind everything, no exceptions.
  • References to old age, dying, and Alzheimer's that feel awkward because of Liz Sladen.
  • Remember, on occasion, Sarah-Jane should semi-subtly mope that she didn't save her virginity for the Doctor.
  • Hugs.


  • Go overboard on "How do you do, fellow kids?" moments.
  • Focus so hard on "relatable teen issues" that it backfires and makes the cast look distant and unsympathetic.
  • Use shitty Shadow Kin in place of any decent Doctor Who monsters.
  • Charlie likes cock, and Tanya likes social justice.
  • Scenes that are ripped right from Buffy, but more obvious than Torchwood. Yes, even more obvious than bringing in James Marsters to play Spike again.
  • Blueball fans by never showing Ian Chesterton.
  • Miss Quill has to be a bitch to the kids, but in a way that makes her more likable and interesting than them.
  • Ram has to suffer.